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Cpl Max Bree
A MODERN comms package
dubbed the “Telstra of the battle-
space” featuring new bearer and
network management systems is
on the way, with an initial release
to 7 Bde units early next year.
The new battlefield telecommu-
nications network uses satellites,
beyond line-of-sight and line-of-
sight systems to connect deployed
An advanced data monitoring
and management system helps opti-
mise the network.
DG Communications Systems
Branch Myra Sefton, of CASG,
compared Project Land 2072
Ph2B, known as “Currawong”, to
Australia’s largest telecommunica-
“When the ADF deploys into the
field this will provide all the con-
nectivity they would expect at the
office,” she said.
The $650m acquisition program
was awarded to Boeing Defence
Australia in 2015 and recently dem-
onstrated to Defence and CASG
personnel in Brisbane.
“We’re probably jumping about
two generations from the current
Parakeet system,” Director of the
Battlespace Communication pro-
gram office, Bob Hutchinson, said.
“We are moving from voice-
oriented capabilities to ones based
around digital data, including digit-
“Everyone expects to have
internet-like access to plan and
fight from data terminals, rather
than the relay of voice commands
and simple messages.”
The legacy Parakeet terminals
were designed to deliver ~2 Mb/s,
but Currawong’s satellite termi-
nals will provide more than 10
times greater speeds. The line-of-
sight systems offer more than 40
Mb/s capacity – all within a secure
DRN, DSN and a Mission
Secret Network (MSN) can be car-
ried over the Currawong system and
monitored by signallers in real time
via a digital interface.
“This way we can centrally con-
trol how a network is rolled out
and monitor how it’s performing,”
Lt-Col Paul Young, of AHQ, said.
“We’ve had networks like this
out there, but this really lets us
understand what the networks are
“We’ll be able to understand
how our networks are performing
and plan them to support a com-
mander’s needs during different
phases of a battle.”
Signallers will be able to view
and vary data speeds on a network
and quickly troubleshoot problems.
“Instead of plugging cables
into different parts of equipment to
monitor performance, they will be
able to understand how an entire
network is performing and change
it to suit different needs,” Lt-Col
“This includes understanding
network performance across the
bearers and computer systems that
hang off the back end.”
The system can be quickly
scaled up or down by adding
or removing common compo-
nents, such as the Network Access
Software and firmware upgrades
are simplified to future-proof the
system for new capabilities and
“You can throw a couple of
these modules in the back of a
G-Wagon and establish a basic sat-
ellite communications network, or
scale it up to support 500 users on a
network,” Mr Hutchinson said.
LCpl Josh Koitka, of 7CSR, said
it would be mostly a matter of plug-
ging his unit’s network equipment
into the new system.
“It will make things a lot easier
for us, a lot faster to deploy, and as
long as you’ve got a basic knowl-
edge of networking, you should be
able to get out there and set up the
gear really quickly,” he said.
LCpl Koitka said the old
Parakeet equipment didn’t integrate
as well with their new network
“It’s too rugged, too slow, it
takes too long to set up,” he said.
“With this thing here, you can
pull up, unhook it and connect
straight up to a satellite.”
The systems will begin arriv-
ing at 7 Bde towards the end of
the year, and be used on Exercise
Feedback will be incorporated
with additional capability for a sec-
ond phase of the roll out in 2019.
“It integrates with MSN,
which is a coalition network,”
LCpl Koitka said.
“If we stick with the old equip-
ment and the coalition is modernis-
ing, we’d lose interoperability.
“With Currawong, we’ll be able
to integrate, speak to them and be a
Ms Sefton praised the high level
of cooperation between Boeing,
CASG and Army.
“This level of constructive
engagement is a model for how
complex technology systems can be
scoped and delivered in an acceler-
ated timeframe,” she said.
June 29, 2017
ADF personnel are shown a medium satellite communications terminal during a VIP day at
Damascus Barracks in Brisbane.
Photo: Cpl Max Bree
Connecting the forces critical to success
Sgt Dave Morley
A RECENTLY-promoted trades-
man won the coveted Samurai
Trophy in the international division
at last month’s Australian Army
Skill at Arms Meeting (AASAM) at
Cpl Jake McDermott, a fitter-
armourer at 102 Fd Wksp Coy, 3CSSB,
won the trophy for the highest overall
individual combat shooting aggregate
for rifle, pistol and machine gun.
He entered the competition with
confidence having previously been a
member of the Australian Army Combat
Shooting Team (AACST).
“As the competition was nearing its
end I started to look at the scoreboards
and, with a quick bit of maths, worked
out I had placed well in the combat
shooting matches, then placed first in
the LSW/MAG58 aggregate,” he said.
“That helped a lot with my overall
score, as well as my high placing in the
combat rifle shoots and pistol assault
“It was a good feeling receiving the
award, as it was a relief all the extra
training, hard work and long hours
reloading I had done, paid off.”
Cpl McDermott grew up on a farm
in the Hunter Valley and has been shoot-
ing since he was a child.
“Towards the end of my schooling,
I started reloading my own ammunition
and became interested in larger calibre
rifles and handguns,” he said.
“I am self-taught on pistol, but the
captain of the AACST for many years,
WO1 Ian Beattie, fine-tuned my pistol
“I’m a member of the Townsville
Pistol Club and two Sporting Shooters
Association of Australia rifle ranges in
Cpl McDermott said he had the full
support of his CO and 3CSSB, as well
as his family and friends, when it came
to the AASAM and other shooting
“Next month, I’m off on an AACST
trip to Bisley in England,” he said.
ASM 3CSSB WO1 Andy
Pethybridge said Cpl McDermott was a
professional and competent tradesman
with sound soldier qualities.
“He was recently promoted to cor-
poral due to his excellent attributes in
trade and military skills,” he said.
“I was confident Jake would do well
at AASAM and we are extremely proud
of his achievement.
“He leads by example and is well-
respected within the company and unit.
“It is an excellent achievement for an
ADF member, in particular an outstand-
ing member of RAEME.”
On target at
Cpl Jake McDermott,
of 3CSSB, with the
Samurai Trophy for
achieving the highest
aggregate in the
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